Preserving test kits would also ensure greater protection for health-care workers, who are the most at risk.
“Indeed, if we can get a test back within 24-48 hours, we can ensure early treatment and, in need, hospitalise those people who we know will deteriorate rapidly as the infection progresses,” said Winde. “For some of our residents, it might be the difference between living and dying.”
These are the people who will be eligible for testing:
- if you are over 55 and have Covid-19 symptoms;
- if you are younger than 55 and have any cancer, diabetes, hypertension, HIV (with poor adherence to antiretrovirals) or chronic lung disease (including TB and asthma);
- if you are a health-care worker and have Covid-19 symptoms; and
- if you live in a care or old age home and have Covid-19 symptoms.
Those who had symptoms of Covid-19 and don’t fall into this criteria should, however, isolate for 14 days to prevent the virus from spreading to others.
Winde said that local and international data showed that 90% of people infected with Covid-19 would not require hospitalisation and that 2% of those with confirmed cases have died.
Of those who died, 96% had underlying health conditions and were older than 55.